mad cow disease


mad cow disease
n.
a progressive, degenerative brain disease of adult cows, thought to be caused by an infectious agent in their food: cf. BSE

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BSE

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Fatal neurodegenerative disease of cattle.

Symptoms include behavioral changes (e.g., agitation), gradual loss of coordination and locomotive function, and, in advanced stages, weight loss, fine muscular contractions, and abnormal gait. Brain tissue becomes pitted with holes and spongy. Death usually follows within a year. The disease is similar to the neurodegenerative disease of sheep called scrapie. No treatment is known. A BSE epidemic in Britain that began in the mid-1980s is believed to have been caused by the use of cattle feed containing supplements made from ruminant carcasses and trimmings. Hundreds of thousands of infected cattle were slaughtered and the use of animal-derived protein supplements ended. The cause of both BSE and scrapie is attributed to an infectious aberrant protein called a prion. The unusual occurrence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, another prion-related illness, in young people beginning in the mid-1990s may be linked to eating meat from cattle with BSE.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • mad cow disease — n. a progressive, degenerative brain disease of adult cows, thought to be caused by an infectious agent in their food: cf. BSE …   English World dictionary

  • mad cow disease — kau̇ n BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY * * * bovine spongiform encephalopathy …   Medical dictionary

  • mad cow disease — mad′ cow′ disease n. pat bovine spongiform encephalopathy • Etymology: 1985–90 …   From formal English to slang

  • mad cow disease — noun a fatal disease of cattle that affects the central nervous system; causes staggering and agitation • Syn: ↑bovine spongiform encephalitis, ↑BSE • Hypernyms: ↑animal disease * * * noun [noncount] : a fatal disease that affects the brain and… …   Useful english dictionary

  • mad cow disease — N UNCOUNT Mad cow disease is a disease which affects the nervous system of cattle and causes death. [mainly BRIT] Syn: BSE …   English dictionary

  • mad cow disease — mad cow dis.ease n [U] informal ↑BSE …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • mad cow disease — mad cow dis,ease noun uncount INFORMAL BSE …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • mad cow disease — (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy) fatal disease affecting the nervous system in cattle …   English contemporary dictionary

  • mad cow disease — noun a fatal virus disease of cattle which attacks the nervous system, and which can cross infect humans; bovine spongiform encephalopathy …   Australian English dictionary

  • mad cow disease — noun Date: 1988 bovine spongiform encephalopathy …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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